David E. Sanger (born July 5, 1960 in White Plains, New York) is the chief Washington correspondent for The New York Times. A 1982 graduate of Harvard College, Sanger has been writing for the Times for 30 years covering foreign policy, globalization, nuclear proliferation, and the presidency.
He has been a member of two teams that won the Pulitzer Prize, and has been awarded numerous honors for national security and foreign policy coverage. He is the author of two books: Confront and Conceal: Obama's Secret Wars and Surprising Use of American Power (Crown, June 2012) and The Inheritance: The World Obama Confronts and the Challenges to American Power (Harmony, 2009), which was a best-seller.
Sanger graduated magna cum laude in government from Harvard College in 1982.
David E. Sanger is chief Washington correspondent for The New York Times and one of the newspaper's senior writers. In a 30-year career at the paper, he has reported from New York, Tokyo and Washington, specializing in foreign policy, national security and the politics of globalization. Soon after joining the Times in 1982, Sanger began specializing in the confluence of economic and foreign policy. Throughout the ‘80’s and ‘90’s, he wrote extensively about how issues of national wealth and competitiveness came to redefine the relationships between the United States and its major allies. He was correspondent and then bureau chief in Tokyo for six years, travelling widely in Asia. He wrote some of the first pieces describing North Korea’s nuclear weapons program, the rise and fall of Japan as one of the world’s economic powerhouses, and China’s emerging role.
Returning to Washington in 1994, he took up the position of Chief Washington Economic Correspondent, and covered a series of global economic upheavals, from Mexico to the Asian economic crisis. He was named a senior writer in March 1999, and White House correspondent later that year. He was named Chief Washington Correspondent in October 2006. In 1986 Sanger played a major role in the team that investigated the causes of the space shuttle Challenger disaster. The team revealed the design flaws and bureaucratic troubles that contributed to the disaster, and won the 1987 Pulitzer Prize for national reporting. A decade later he was a member of another Pulitzer-winning team that wrote about the Clinton administration's struggles to control exports to China.
Sanger was awarded, in 2004, the Weintal Prize for diplomatic reporting for his coverage of the Iraq and Korea crises. He also won the Aldo Beckman prize for coverage of the presidency. In both 2003 and 2007 he was awarded the Merriman Smith Memorial Award for coverage of national security strategy. He also shared the American Society of Newspaper Editors' top award for deadline writing in 2004, for team coverage of the Columbia disaster. In 2007, The New York Times received the DuPont Award from the Columbia Journalism School for Nuclear Jihad: Can Terrorists Get the Bomb?, a documentary featuring him and colleague William J. Broad, and their investigation into the A.Q. Khan nuclear proliferation network. Their revelations in the Times about the network became a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. In 2011, Sanger was part of another team that was a Pulitzer Prize finalist for International Reporting for their coverage of the Japanese tsunami and nuclear disaster.
Sanger has written two books on US foreign policy. His first book is the New York Times best-seller The Inheritance: The World Obama Confronts and the Challenges to American Power (2009), based on his seven years as the Times White House correspondent, covering two wars, the confrontations with Iran, North Korea and other states that are described in Western media as "rogue" states, and America’s efforts to deal with the rise of China.
Sanger's second book Confront and Conceal: Obama's Secret Wars and Surprising Use of American Power (2012) is an account of how Obama has dealt with those challenges, relying on innovative weapons (such as UAVs and cyberwarfare, such as Operation Olympic Games) and reconfigured tools of American power.
In 2016 General James Cartwright, then the retired Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, pleaded guilty to making false statements in connection with the unauthorized disclosure of classified information, some of which appeared in one of the two books by David Sanger.
Sanger is also an adjunct lecturer in public policy at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard, where he is also the first National Security and the Press fellow at the school’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs.
Sanger appears regularly on public affairs and news shows, including Washington Week, the Charlie Rose Show on PBS, and Foreign Policy's The Editor's Roundtable podcast. Sanger also appears regularly on the three main Sunday news shows, Face the Nation, Meet the Press and This Week. He also delivers the weekly Washington Report on WQXR, part of New York Public Radio.
Sanger is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the Aspen Strategy Group.